Joann Simpkins Lightle, 89, of Senoia, Ga.


Joann Simpkins Lightle, 89, died February 14 at Piedmont Hospital in Newnan, Georgia. She had lived most of her life in Albany, Georgia, and Gas City, Indiana.

Born in Gas City on August 26, 1934, to John and Beulah Simpkins, Joann was affectionately referred to as “Sis” by those who knew her in Gas City. Her older brother Dave Simpkins gave her the nickname when she was young.

Joann Lightle
Joann Lightle

Both sides of her family were farmers and factory workers. Her paternal grandfather David (wife Jennie McCann) Simpkins owned the local theater where she watched movies with her friends in the 1940s. Her maternal grandparents were Samuel and Margaret “Maggie” (Bauer) Troxell.

She came of age influenced by a large and loving family – a family where storytelling and laughter permeated the air. She graduated from Gas City High School in 1952 where she was a cheerleader for the school’s basketball team. The following year she married Bill Lightle, also from Gas City. The couple had five children. One child, Faith, born January 31, 1956, died in infancy.

Joann reared their children, supported her husband and worked briefly for a local box factory in Gas City. The family moved to Albany in 1966 after Bill Lightle accepted a job at the new aircraft factory Aerow Commander. While in Albany, Joann worked several years for the retail store House of Textiles, and the Lightle family regularly attended mass at St. Teresa’s Catholic Church.

By the late 1990s, Joann and Bill had moved to Griffin, Georgia, not far from their youngest daughter, Katy Sweat, who lived in Fayetteville. While in Griffin, she worked for ten years as a cook at Orrs Elementary School before retiring.

After her husband died of cancer in 2007, Joann moved to Fayetteville where she helped care for her Sweat grandsons: Adam, Matt, and Tucker. Katy is married to Sam Sweat of Albany. In 2018 Joann moved to Senoia and lived with the Sweat family. At her new home, she often watched football games and Atlanta Braves baseball with her cocker spaniel, Thatch, by her side.

She enjoyed reading World War II novels and vividly recalled listening to President Franklin Roosevelt on the radio. Her interest in history was rooted in her own experiences of living through the Great Depression and World War II.

Her older brother Dave and younger sister Nina Mitchener preceded her in death. Her two younger brothers, John and Kevin Simpkins, live in Indiana today.

She is survived by four children who all live in Georgia: Gail (husband Neal) Cone of Douglasville; Bill (wife Phyllis) Lightle of Fayetteville; Jim (wife Tricia) Lightle of Norcross; and Katy (husband Sam) Sweat of Senoia.

She is also survived by ten grandchildren: Lance (wife Kim) of Cumming; Blake (wife Brittany) Cone of Kennesaw; Anna (husband Adrian) Sipos of Atlanta; David Lightle of Albany; Dylan Lightle of Atlanta; Sarah (husband Chris) Lippert of Roswell; Andrew Lightle of Atlanta; Adam Sweat of Atlanta; Matt (wife Rachel) of Norcross; and Tucker Sweat of Williamson.

She is survived by two step-grandchildren: Sarah Lewis of Atlanta and Troy (wife Audrey) Lewis of Lawrenceville. Joann is also survived by six great-grandchildren: Davis and Katelyn Cone; Benjamin and Camryn Cone; Ramsey Lippert; and Matthew Shan-Sweat.

The family will host a memorial service to be conducted on March 23 at 10:00 a.m. at the Senoia United Methodist Church at 229 Bridge Street Senoia, Georgia, 30276. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any charitable donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital:

We welcome you to provide your condolences, thoughts, and memories on our Tribute Wall. Mowell Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Peachtree City,